Bid to buy KGH ice machine in memory of Burton Latimer man

Leslie pictured on Barnwell C ward with Barbara in March. Delighted with the feedback from the
Leslie pictured on Barnwell C ward with Barbara in March. Delighted with the feedback from the

The family of a Burton Latimer man who died after battling sepsis in KGH are looking to raise £3,000 to buy an ice machine in his memory.

The Northants Telegraph previously reported that Leslie Ellison, 83, had produced a charity calendar featuring his watercolour paintings of wildlife in aid of Cancer Research UK, which went on to raise £250 through sales.

Leslie, a retired geography lecturer, was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer – Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) – in 2014, which subsequently transformed to Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (CMML) the following year.

Since last summer, he had been receiving regular platelet and blood transfusions.

At the end of February, Leslie was admitted to KGH with an infection in both knees which, despite two emergency operations within the space of two days, developed into sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which the body attacks its own tissues and organs.

Daughter Kathryn Jones, 47, who also lives in Burton Latimer, said that the staff refused to give up on her father and did everything they could during the seven weeks he spent in hospital.

But after taking a turn for the worse, he died on Monday, April 16.

Kathry said: “Dad was very poorly, in a lot of pain and hardly ate or drank anything during the last few weeks of his life.

“A symptom of the sepsis was that his voice became slurred and his throat was also terribly dry, so one of his few pleasures was drinking ice cold water.

“It brought him such relief, you’d have thought he was sipping champagne.”

With a price tag of around £3,000 to buy, not every ward in the hospital has its own ice machine.

The ward Leslie spent most time on, Barnwell C, did not.

Kathryn added: “The staff did their best to try to fetch jugs of iced water from the neighbouring ward, but they were all incredibly busy and for one week the machine was out of order.

“We felt so helpless anyway because there was little we could do to ease dad’s suffering, but it was even more heart breaking when we had to explain it wasn’t possible to bring him ice water.

“The wards are so hot and stuffy, tap water quickly becomes warm and it’s just not the same.”

When Barbara, Leslie’s wife of 57 years, decided she would ask family and friends to make donations to charity rather than buy flowers for his funeral, Kathryn says she knew exactly what they should

do.

She said: “A huge character on the ward, dad was well known for his love of iced water and cold milk and I think the nurses were as disappointed as we were when we couldn’t bring him any ice.

“I thought that getting them their own ice machine would not only benefit dozens of future patients, but also give us a lasting reminder of dad and ensure something good comes out of our sadness.”

Almost half-way to target within just a few days of launching the appeal, Kathryn is urging people to get behind her worthy cause and has issued a special plea to local business people to ask for support.

She added: “Most of us know that individuals can gift aid their donations, but what I hadn’t realised was that donations to a registered charity are tax deductible for anyone paying corporate tax.

“It seems a no brainer to me to give a portion of the money you would set aside for corporate tax to the hospital instead, just speak to your accountant about the records you need to keep.”

Donations can be made directly to Kettering General Hospital Charity Fund via Virgin Money Giving at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/LeslieEllison